MapAction: Mapping in Humanitarian Crisis

Historic Environment Scotland's Alistair Wilkie talks to us about MapAction, the humanitarian mapping charity.

Submitted by SarahManavis on 10-07-2017 10:46:45

MapAction is a humanitarian mapping charity that works through skilled volunteers. We primarily help target and coordinate the delivery of humanitarian aid. MapAction has been operational since 2002 and since then we have responded to more than 65 emergencies. These overseas rapid responses have included Boxing Day Tsunami (2004), Nepal earthquakes (2015), Ebola outbreak (2014) and Mediterranean refugee crisis.

Mapping in an emergency

Humanitarian emergencies often strike without warning, destroying lives and livelihoods within a matter of seconds. In the immediate aftermath, the challenge for those responding is to know where to start.

Information is vital.

Which area has been worst affected? Where are the most vulnerable people? What has happened to roads, railways and communication networks? Where are medical supplies and where are they needed most?

MapAction quickly gathers this crucial data at the disaster scene, conveying it visually in the form of maps. By creating this ‘shared operational picture’ for aid agencies, governments and local partners, we can help them make informed decisions and deliver aid and emergency supplies to the right place, quickly.

Working with partners

Emergency response within hours
We have the capacity to deploy a fully trained and equipped humanitarian mapping and information management team anywhere across the globe, often within hours.

Our team of over 70 trained volunteers follow a well-practised deployment model, meaning we can respond within 24-48 hours of a rapid onset emergency.

For example, in the case of Nepal in 2015, we helped coordinate rescue efforts and mapped the needs of affected communities in order to make the responses targeted and effective as possible.

We are ready to respond anywhere in the world where it is safe enough to send a team.

Collecting GPS data in the field

For more information please see our website -


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